On behalf on the entire Cirque Us team, I want to thank you for coming out tonight and supporting us! This Benefit Show is our 5th in person performance to the start of a tour. The very first Cirque Us performance was a benefit show in a small aerial studio Somerville. A back in March of 2016. Since then, we have created 4 original shows, completed 5 tours, have performed in 10 states, and won an award for Best Circus Show. Tonight will be our 143rd and 144th performances. None of these performances or accomplishments would have been possible without our amazing hometown crowd of supporters! You have been with us from our very first performance to our 144th! Every flip, every pass, every smile and every laugh over the years is because you believed in us. Thank you for seeing the potential in our small, but mighty circus, and for helping our dreams come true. Whether you have been with us since our first performance, or you are joining us for the first time, thank you being here, and thank you for supporting Cirque Us.
Tonight is a celebration of circus. Unfortunately. the last few years have just not had enough circus. So tonight we are celebrating that we are once again, able to safely gather and enjoy the circus arts. Tonight we are celebrating the triumphant return of live performance. We are celebrating artists performing for the first time in years. We are celebrating the years of hard work and dedication these artists have given to their craft. And of course, we are celebrating YOU, our audience. Without you, none of this would be possible! Thank you for giving us 144 reasons to celebrate!
-Doug Stewart – Founder and Executive Director – Cirque Us
2022 RagTag: A Circus in Stitches Tour
Follow our RagTag group of threadbare, yarn-spinning characters as they explore a new patchwork world. You’ll be entwined with our group of mismatched artists as they stitch together a tapestry of talents. This show features high-flying, knot-tying, gravity defying aerialists, loopy jugglers, musicians that pull at your heart strings, and comedy that will leave you in stitches. Can these six ragamuffins find a common thread, or will they fall apart at the seams? Join us as we tell tales of support, fear, friendship, and the connections which inevitably interweave themselves in our lives.
We are thrilled to share that RagTag: A Circus in Stitches is hitting the road for the third time this spring! We will be visiting some of our favorite locations on the East Coast and the Midwest, as well as making our Southern debut. There are lots of new acts and surprises coming your way and we can’t wait for you to see them!
RagTag: A Circus in Stitches will be performing at Boston University on April 29th & 30th
Support Cirque Us
Cirque Us relies on the generosity of our community to help us take our show down the road! We are hoping to raise $7,500 by March 1st to ensure that we are able to bring RagTag to 12 different communities this Spring. Please visit our GoFundMe campaign where you can learn more about our fundraising efforts.
- Opening – Flying Gravity Circus
Based in Wilton, New Hampshire, The Flying Gravity Circus provides circus arts education for children and teenagers, with programs ranging from recreational to pre-professional. We promote artistic expression, physical fitness, and positive youth development by teaching circus skills and creating opportunities to participate in a range of circus performances–from casual community events to captivating theatrical productions. FGC seeks to contribute to cultural life while raising awareness of the many benefits of youth circus. We strive to ignite in each participant a joy for learning, performing, and teaching the circus arts. You can learn more about the FGC by visiting their website: www.flyinggravitycircus.org
2. Hat Juggling – Ivan Jermyn
Ivan is a physical theater performer, acrobat and clown from the hills of Vermont. He spent three years touring and performing with Circus Smirkus before joining Cirque Us in 2017 and 2018. Since then, Ivan has completed a BFA in Physical Theater Arts, and is a graduate of the Academia Dell’Arte in Tuscany. Ivan has performed for the Smithsonian Institute, the Italian embassy, and many town squares. When not performing, Ivan can be found reading in a tree or making jewelry.
3. Straps – Justin Durham
Justin Durham is a handbalancer based out of Chicago. After graduating from the National Centre for Circus Arts in London back in 2017, Justin has been jumping between a variety of contracts, from tented shows to cruise ship performances, as close to home as Midnight Circus in Chicago and as far fetched as Circus Aotearoa in New Zealand. Justin’s favorite part of circus arts is creatively developing a show with an ensemble and being able to present his many other talents of aerial straps, acrobatics, hand to hand, and club passing with the audience.
4. TightWire – Logan Kerr
Logan is a tightwire walker and roustabout based out of upstate New York and Chicago, IL. She began working with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus as a teenager and has been a part of their productions in NYC and across the United States since 2011. In 2015, Logan started training tightwire full-time in Chicago, where she also worked with Aloft Circus Arts and Midnight Circus in the Parks. It was also in Chicago where she formed a tightwire Duo “KerrPlunk” and her band “Logan & Book.” This will be Logan’s second tour with Cirque Us — as she was originally cast in the 2020 production of Ragtag — and is thrilled to be taking the show on the road again!
5. Foot Juggling – Avi Kritzman
Avi is a foot juggler currently based in Maine. From 2019 to 2021 he trained full time at The Sellam Circus School. Avi started with static trapeze and found a love for foot juggling along the way. Later, he taught classes in static trapeze, aerial fabric, and flexibility. Avi is excited to make his Boston debut at the 2022 Cirque Us Benefit Show!
6. Hoop Diving – Glenn Doyle
While living in The Netherlands, Glenn Doyle started competitive gymnastics, which he did for 7 years. After competing for a season in competitive acrobatics, Glenn turned to circus to continue his acrobatic journey. Since then he has been a part of Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour since 2018, and has trained at Flying Gravity Circus, Eastern Acrobatics, and Esh Circus arts.
7. Aerial Silks – Gabi Renzi
Gabi has been doing aerial arts since 2014, specifically silk and contortion. She started teaching in 2018 and has performed across the country in many different shows. Outside of aerials, Gabi is a student at the University of Rhode Island and an aspiring artist.
9. Diabolo – Liam Gundlach
Liam has been working with diabolos for most of his life. A couple years ago, the diabolos started to wake up, which was very exciting, but it did complicate things. They seem to be figuring it out, though. Liam is currently living in Vermont with his partner Ripley Burns, and he is very happy to be back performing with Cirque Us!
10. Rope – Doug Stewart
Doug Stewart is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts, the longest running professional training program in the United States. He has performed for Circus Smirkus, Chicago’s Midnight Circus, Diamond Family Circus, AIDA Cruises, Live305 Entertainment and Cirque Dreams. Doug holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business of Live and Performing Arts from Columbia College Chicago. At age 20, Doug founded Cirque Us and has performed in all of their productions. Doug is also a co-founder of the Upper Valley Circus Camp. Doug currently serves as the Assistant Camp Director Circus Smirkus Camp and the Artistic and Operations Director of Cirque Us.
11. Contortion – Maeve Beck
Maeve Beck was born and raised in Turners Falls, Massachusetts where she began her circus journey at eight years old. She was introduced to the world of circus at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she did summer camps and took recreational classes for the first few years. In middle school Maeve began to pursue circus full time, joining NECCA’s advanced youth troupe and the following year was accepted to NECCA’s professional training program (ProTrack). During her first year in the ProTrack program she met current hand to hand partner Todd Degnan and the two have been training and creating together for the past four years. Maeve traveled to Biddeford, Maine starting the fall of 2018 to continue training with coach Sellam El Ouahabi at The Sellam Circus School. She continues to train and perform hand to hand with Todd while also focusing on solo hand balancing and contortion. She has performed throughout New England during her time as a student/performer. Maeve loves the creativity, strength, and joy that circus offers. She is grateful to have found circus and the community and continues to enjoy learning and challenging herself through circus training and performing.
12. Jump Rope – Connor Kraska, Alexandra Bottari, Avery Gunnell
Ali has been jump roping for almost 14 years. Up until a year ago it was purely a competitive sport, but since she started performing she has jumped at Sea world Orlando and with Cirque Dreams.
Avery is 19 years old and is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been jumping for about 7 years and has performed with Cirque Dreams.
Connor has been jumping rope for almost 13 years and is a national and world champion competitor. He has since moved on to performing with SeaWorld Orlando, the Colorful Hat, and Cirque Dreams.
13. Duo Hoop – Rachel Barringer & Caroline Wright
Caroline Wright was touring with Cirque du Soleil right up until the pandemic and Rachel Barringer recently completed a contract with Shanghai Circus in Branson, Missouri. As a duo they recently performed with Santa’s Circus in Phoenix, Arizona. This duo act (originally performed and choreographed by Caroline and Xochitl Sosa) won an Isadora Duncan award in 2017 in San Francisco, California.
14. Hula Hoops – Eva Lou Rhinelander
Eva Lou Rhinelander is an 11th grader from Melrose, MA. She has toured 6 summers with the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour where she performs hula hooping, contortion, handstands, wire & clowning. During the school year, Eva competes in dance and as a Level 9 rhythmic gymnast. A fun fact, Eva is the world record holder for the longest time hula hooping on her nose.
14. Hand to Hand – Chase & Clemence
Chase is from Boston, Massachusetts, and is 21 years old. He started circus at a young age with the Circus
Smirkus summer camp. He later performed 4 tours with Circus Smirkus before going off to prep at the
Quebec City Circus School. It is in Quebec where he met his flyer, Clemence, and they have been working
together ever since. Chase is currently in his second year of The National Circus School in Montréal where he
studies hand to hand, as well as Russian bar and diabolo. Chase continues to push the boundaries of performing
arts and loves journaling as a form of creative thinking. When not training, Chase spends his time cooking and watching movies. He’s often thought if he wasn’t a circus artist, he would open a food truck, serving fresh food with ingredients from local farmers’ markets. Chase also loves mixing circus and film, creating projects with his
talented classmates and friends.
Clémence started circus at the age of 4 when her mother took her to register for a recreational school.
When she was 15 years old, she joined the National Circus School of Châtellerault where circus was
part of her high-school graduation. She specialized in aerial rope, but she knew that she would audition
as a hand to hand flyer in professional circus schools. Thus, she met Chase at Quebec City Circus
School and began learning hand to hand with him.